Clallam gets $1 million to fight homelessness

Clallam County has received $1 million of a $1.165 million request for a state grant to put homeless people in permanent housing.

“What we proposed is to focus on funding people who are at extreme risk of homelessness or who have become homeless,” said Kathy Wahto, executive director of Serenity House, a homeless shelter in Port Angeles.

“It’s focused on prevention. That means helping people rapidly re-enter permanent housing.”

The funding begins in 2007 and is expected to be used over a three-year period.

The original proposal – which requested more than was received – was to end homelessness for 645 households in Clallam County, both by getting those without housing into permanent homes and by keeping in place people at risk of losing their homes.

The plan will not only help the homeless, but also the entire community, said Clallam County Commissioner Steve Tharinger.

“It will get folks not going in the right direction going in the right direction, and it will be a lot less expensive than putting them in jail or treating them in the emergency rooms of our hospitals,” said Tharinger, D-Dungeness.

“The community in the next six months will really see how this will help.”

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